By Peter Wells
Jean Pascal Beats Lucian Bute – Boxing waited to see what defeat to Carl Froch had done to Lucian Bute mentally, and we soon found out in his 12 round points loss to rival Canadian Jean Pascal. While it is too soon to say Bute is shot at world level, judging on last night’s evidence the days of Bute dominating and bringing fear to his opponents are long gone.
All this is not to take away from one of the best performances of Pascal’s career. The former WBC Light Heavyweight title holder worked off of sharp straight right leads before sending a volley of unanswered punches at the seemingly gun-shy Bute. Pascal never seriously rocked his rival, but on many occasions he looked as though he could turn up the heat on a Bute that failed to answer any of his flurries.
What was most frustrating to see on Bute’s side was that while he had the look of a man that was scared of the other fighter’s power, he was never visibly shaken. Due to the punishment he took at the hands of ‘The Cobra’, Bute seems to have lost all confidence in his own punch resistance, and clearly he and his team haven’t found a style that will accommodate that.
Pascal fought like a veteran fighter in the early rounds, taking on board new coach Roy Jones Jr’s advice of not wasting energy early in the fight. With Bute unwilling to force the pace, Pascal stole rounds with unanswered flurries in almost each round. As the fight wore on Pascal had more energy to counter Bute, with fast and accurate straight rights, and looked on the verge of halting Bute on more than one occasion when he went to work.
Bute finally threw caution to the wind in the final round, but it was far too late. Pascal was not firing back at the start of the round, and while Bute was landing good shots around the high gloves of Pascal, it never looked in my eyes that Pascal was in serious trouble. Max Kellerman’s terrible attempts after the contest to suggest that the final barrage could earn Bute a rematch were laughable.
One has to wonder how Bute 31-2(24) will be able to continue fighting at world level. If he fights in the same vein in future contests then the Romanian, living out of Canada, will not be featuring as a star in either the Light Heavyweight or Super Middleweight division. Let’s hope that is not the case.
Pascal 29-2-1(17) will now be eyeing up a lucrative match-up with WBC Light Heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, after his career was set back on track.
On the undercard Mike Perez 20-0-1(12) was fortunate to retain his unbeaten record with a majority draw against Cameroon’s Carlos Takam 29-1-1(23).
Takam forced the pace throughout the 2nd half of the contest, forcing the fight inside as the two looked to land punches up close. Perez who was badly cut over his right eye early in the contest seemed to be putting little into his punches during the 10 round fight. Like many fighters preceding him, Perez may have lost his puncher’s instinct after the tragic result of his last contest with Magomed Abdusalomov. Sadly while boxing is a hard and dangerous sport, boxers are humans, and these tragic incidents affect far more people than simply those close to the injured fighter.
Also on the show, another Canadian Light Heavyweight, Eleider Alvarez 14-0(8) took a clear unanimous decision against Andrew Gardiner 10-1(6).
Gardiner bulled forward throughout, but it was the cleaner work of Alvarez that made an impact. Alvarez struggled at times to contain his fellow Canadian, but ultimately his fast hands and feet always saw him one-step ahead of the late replacement for South African Thomas Oosthuizen.
In his 14 fights, Alvarez has a solid resume, having beaten Edison Miranda, Danny McIntosh, Shawn Hawk and now Gardiner. But Alvarez did himself few favours when shunning Gardiner after the fight when Gardiner was trying to congratulate his counterpart.
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